PhD Research Investigates Mental Health Issues Caused by Use of Antiretroviral Drugs
Dr Sodiq Kolawole Lawal of Nigeria was awarded a PhD in Health Sciences (Anatomy) for his study investigating the management of HIV using novel nanotechnology coupled with antiretroviral therapy.
The research delved into neglected aspects of mental health such as anxiety, loss of memory and cognitive dysfunction arising as a consequence of antiretroviral drug interactions with the human body system which causes people living with HIV and AIDS to experience abnormal stress levels.
Lawal’s study is the first to describe, at the ultrastructural and cytoarchitectonic level, the effects, and interactions of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF)-silver nanoparticle conjugates on the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in fructose Streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic Sprague-Dawley rats.
The research has produced published articles with Lawal as the first and corresponding author in the Q1/Q2 journals IBRO Neuroscience Reports (Elsevier), the Journal of Diabetes Research (Hindawi), and the Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Science. Two articles are under review with Frontiers Pharmacology and Journal of Neurochemistry.
Lawal was one of the 200 students selected to attend and present their research work at the Bio Africa Convention, Durban 2022 as well as received a travel grant to attend the International Society of Neurochemistry (ISN) and the Asian Pacific Society of Neurochemistry (APSN) meeting in Honolulu Hawaii, USA 2022.
Said 39-year-old Lawal, ‘I am filled with joy. My future aspiration is to become a top neuroscientist and to work in an institution or laboratory that would help me reach my full potential. My supervisors Dr Carmen Rennie, Dr Edwin Naidu, and Professor Onyemaechi Azu were excellent.
‘I am also very grateful for the support given to me by the Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) staff, UKZN management and the South African government.’
Lawal, who hopes to secure an international postdoctoral position and a full-time lecturing appointment, completed his Bachelor of Science degree at Nigeria’s University of Ilorin and his Master’s degree in Science at the University of Lagos.
Words: Lihle Sosibo